From above, Gran Canaria looks like a giant volcano with green hues radiating out towards the water’s edge. Come down to earth and the island takes on a very different look. Large purpose-built hotels make way to sweeping sand dunes and craggy rock formations and forests. Enjoy the sun, the sand and sea, take hikes into the landscape and embrace this special island in the Canaries.
Gran Canaria is like a mini continent and a bridge between Europe, Africa and The Americas. Spanish in feeling, but a screen shot into many cultures. Little wonder that so many flock here each year.
One minute you’re in your resort, the next strolling around Las Palmas taking in the small squares and architecture, following that you’re exploring the dunes or hiking in the unique landscape. With that in mind, let’s explore the island.
Ok, so no surprise the beaches are listed high on the must-do’s when visiting the island. It’s why you are here in the first place! There are beaches to suit all types, from the large and lively to the coves and quiet spaces. It’s in the south of the island where you’ll find the biggest beaches and resorts. There are a couple of gems, among many to seek out, such as
· Dunas de Maspalomas – Head to the southern side of the island and you’ll discover the sandy desert and the Maspalomas dunes. There’s a thousand acres to explore and a lighthouse and modern boulevard adding an extra touch to the never-ending sand!
· Las Canteras Beach – It’s only a few meters from the shoreline of Las Palmas, the capital. With a coral barrier, this is basically a massive fish tank, and a lively city beach. What more could you ask for?
The towns and villages
The lively resorts are the places for entertainment and offer convenience. No need to head off in search of beaches, just settle back and relax. However, if you can try to head inland, you’ll find the quieter side of the island. Villages and hamlets where the pace to life is decidedly slower.
· Tejada – If you are looking for that special place where charm seeps from every sunlit street, then Tejada is the town for you. It’s a pretty place with some of the prettiest landscapes to see on the island, so give it your time.
· Santa Lucia de Tirajana – lush palm groves and whitewashed houses add to the historic elements. With any of these places, you are best hiring a car and just follow the road. These and many other villages will delight.
Into the heart of the island
As you travel through the villages, take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty of the island itself. Roque Nublo, the striking volcano which you can reach by a trail, is a case in point. The views from the summit? Well, spectacular comes to mind.
Other places of interest include – the dragon’s tail or Tamadaba Natural Park. From grandiose cliffs to pine forests, it’s a treat for those with a love of the natural.
Finally, there is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. You arrived near here at the airport, so head back to explore the town. Make sure to visit the historic quarter. You’ll also find museums such as EL Museo Canario, which tells the story of the early settlers if you’re looking for some historical context. A highlight in a town that may well be your base for evening entertainment and shopping trips.
Gran Canaria is a contrasting island. Yes, you’ll want to come for the sun and fun on the beaches and in the waters, but make sure you head inland, explore the natural riches and the villages. You won’t be disappointed.